Feb. 24, 2006
Pekin, IL - Elyse Jamrozy had a fitting start to her senior season. The catcher led last year's squad with a .522 slugging percentage, and she's set on the same track this season by cranking a home run over the centerfield fence in her first swing as a senior to lead the Huskies to a solid 4-3 win over Northern Iowa in their season opener at the Dragon's Dome Invitational in Pekin, IL.
Despite a hot start and a one-run lead coming out of the first inning, the Huskies were quickly put on the defensive as the Panthers matched Jamrozy's home run and then some.
After retiring the Panther leadoff, NIU pitcher Lindsey LaChiana (Oak Lawn, IL/Richards) walked the next UNI batter, only to give back-to-back home runs to the next to Panther hitters, Dyann Peterson and Stephanie Aguero.
Now in a 3-1 hole and after three innings of scoreless softball, the Huskies found themselves with runners on first and third with two outs in the fifth inning. Reaching on a fielder's choice, junior speedster Kelly Park (North Aurora, IL/West Aurora) was sent sprinting for second. On the throw, freshman Jenna Roberts scored from third. With Park now on second, Krista McPherson (Beecher, IL/Beecher) shot a hard ground ball that UNI shortstop Rachael Rogers couldn't handle, scoring Park to tie the game.
To start the sixth inning, Ellen Stoddard (Rolling Meadows, IL/Palatine Fremd) led off with a double to centerfield. Shortstop Michelle Nendza (Palos Park, IL/Lemont Mt. Assisi) lifted a high fly ball that hit the dome's ceiling. The hit was good enough for a double and RBI as it scored Stoddard, giving the Huskies all they would need.
"It was a good team effort," said Head Coach Donna Martin. "We did a lot of things well today. We also had a lot of different people doing different things, and they all kept their composure and never really got rattled."
Offensively, the Huskies scattered six hits while capitalizing on three Panther errors to earn their four runs. On the defensive end, NIU shut down all Northern Iowa scoring opportunities, as the Panthers stranded one runner in each of the final two innings.
"We played well defensively, which is a nice surprise this early in the season, after not playing anyone but ourselves the past several weeks," added Martin. "After Lindsey had a rocky start in the first inning, she settled down and gave her team a chance to win." Despite giving up three runs on three hits in the first inning, the senior never faced more than four UNI batters in one inning.
The Huskies will continue play in the Dragon's Dome Invitational on Saturday, facing tournament host Bradley at 1:00 p.m. and IUPUI at 6:15 p.m.